Plops of August raindrops fell onto my head. I had forgotten my umbrella, again, as I often do. My absent mindedness is maddening and threatens all my perceptions of sanity. Where will this creeping sludge in my brain lead?
Then I had a merry thought.
“Why don’t I go home and ask Jack to finish my shopping?”
Jack is my husband. We’ve been married for sixty-two years. He’s eighty two and I’m eighty.
I hailed my friend Sally and told her.
“Let’s go home. I’ve shopped ‘til I’ve dropped. I want Jack to finish this ‘Operation Christmas Stocking Stuffing’ you and I do all year round. We hate carport sailing anyway don’t we?”
We laughed together as we often do. Sally is my best girl friend in the world. We shop, sew, walk and pray together. We harmonize while she plays the piano when I go to her condo three doors down. She sings soprano and I sing alto. Our duets sweeten our get-togethers immensely.
“Jennifer, Jack will be disappointed you didn’t find him any surprises today.”
I gruffly replied.
“O Sally we’re getting wetter by the second. Let’s go.”
Jack would be disappointed. Little surprises and my thoughtfulness always cue him to act kinder toward me.
“O Lordy, I need kindnesses. It seems the older Jack gets the grumpier he gets.”
Now me? I’m mellow and don’t need gifts from him. One time he tried to surprise me with an awful bar of soap. What had he been thinking? I don’t need unexpected things. But something frilly or frou-frou would be a sure’-fire way to get me to be more supportive of his grouchiness.”
Suddenly I felt lost. Nothing seemed real. I didn’t know where I was or where I was going.
“Sally? I think I’ve forgotten the way home. I’m frightened”
“We will just walk around this next corner and you’ll be home.”
“Sally? Do you think I’m losing my mind?”
“Jennifer? Do you mind if we don’t talk about that right now? Let’s say a little prayer and ask Jesus to help you think. That usually helps you.”
“Okay Sally. You pray.”
“Lord, Jennifer forgot her umbrella and didn’t remember to get Jack any surprises again. Help her think about positive uplifting things that will raise her high above her circumstances. Touch her mind with Your gentle Hand and comfort her please. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.”
“Sally? There’s my condo. It’s found!”
“You most certainly did find it Jennifer. Go on in and get dry and warm. We’ll have a cup of tea later.”
I went in as Sally left me at the door. Jack was snoring softly, relaxing in his Lazy Boy. I was pleased as punch he didn’t see me wet and soggy and droopy. Because then he would know I’d forgotten my umbrella again. And then he would know I had forgotten his surprises. And then he might think I’m losing my mind.
The phone rang.
Jack snorted and roused from his nap.
“Jennifer? You home?”
Then in a grumpier voice he barked.
“Get the phone Jennifer!”
I said as I read the caller ID.
Sally spoke gently to me.
“Jennifer? Listen to this. I went to my Bible and found these verses I want you to hear.”
I barked angrily.
I was still smarting from Jack’s ordering me around.
I found these in the Amplified version and they just fit us perfectly. Ready?”
I said abruptly.
“Philippians four verse six. Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition, in the parenthesis it says definite requests, just like we prayed this afternoon Jen, and it goes on to say: with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. The next verse starts out: And God’s peace shall be yours.”
“Sally STOP! I don’t feel peaceful. I’m mad. I’m losing my mind and Jack’s yelling at me and I’m very angry.”
I started crying. Hot tears ran down my cheeks. But somehow the meaning of the verses was melting me.
I began a prayer.
“Th, thank you Father God. I want my mind back. It’s lost. I’ve lost my mind. Please help me.”
I hiccoughed. And a shudder ran through my body.
Jack’s arm slipped around my shoulder.
“It’s all right honey. Everything’s gonna be all right.”
I set the phone down and melted into Jack’s tight embrace.
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